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Company Behind BT InLinkUK WiFi Kiosks Enters Administration UPDATE

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 (10:58 am) - Score 4,339

The company created to deploy and manage InLinkUK’s WiFi kiosks alongside BT, Intersection and advertising firm Primesight – InLink Limited – has called in the administrators. The situation casts doubt over the fate of both their existing kiosks and a plan to replace 1,000+ payphones across major UK cities.

The last update we saw in mid-2018 revealed that around 160 InLinkUK smart kiosks had so far been deployed. All of these claimed to offer 1Gbps capable public WiFi connectivity (shared capacity), free UK phone calls, USB device charging and a range of other digital services to people in the vicinity. A large HD display on the side was also used to carry advertising, which helped to fund the kiosks.

Despite this we’ve heard very little from the InLinkUK roll-out since early 2019, although their kiosks have attracted plenty of headlines and often for all the wrong reasons. For example, some kiosks were used for drug-related calls (this was tackled but Bristol police latered block an application for 20 kiosks due to related concerns) and in other cases planning applications may have suffered as a result of councils trying to tackle trojan telephone boxes (here).

The big question now is whether or not existing kiosks will continue to be supported and if the roll-out will ever continue beyond its current base.

A Spokesperson for Intersection told The Register:

“InLinkUK was launched as a 50/50 joint venture between Intersection London and Primesight, now owned by Global, to operate the InLink product in the UK. Intersection provides technology and Global provides ad sales. InLinkUK is a separate entity from Intersection and the administration of InLinkUK does not impact Intersection’s other businesses.

“Every week, InLinkUK provides free ultra-fast Wi-Fi and other valuable services to nearly half a million people across the UK. Intersection looks forward to working with our partners during this period to ensure the InLinkUK program is sustainable for the long-term.”

The situation is also a headache for BT, which has been gradually removing its old telephone boxes in order to plug the £6m hole that they create every year (replacing those with InLinkUK boxes was seen as one way to help resolve the problem).

UPDATE 1:32pm

BT has responded to express disappointment at the situation. The operator also confirmed that there are now 494 units installed across the UK.

A BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are very disappointed that our partner, InLink Limited, has entered into administration. We are working hard with the administrator to agree a way forward to ensure the continuity of the InLink service so that the public can continue to enjoy the wide range of free services provided.”

In addition, BT has provided the following figures from the current estate of InLinkUK kiosks.

Facts and figures for the InLink service:

* More than 600,000 registered Wi-Fi users enjoy the fastest free outdoor public Wi-Fi in the UK. This rate is growing at 13,000 new customers every week.

* More than a million devices seamlessly connect to the Wi-Fi each month.

* More than 400,000 free phone calls are made each month.

* The units feature a 999 calling button.

* InLinks provide a free community noticeboard for communities to promote events and local businesses.

* InLinks offer services for vulnerable people including a charity app that easily connects people to Childline, The Samaritans, Missing People and Rough Sleeper helplines.

* BT replaces two traditional payphones, on average, for every InLink installed. 1000 traditional payphones have been removed to date – freeing up a square kilometre of pavement space and improving city streetscapes.

* Innovative technology has been developed that detects and blocks anti-social calls.

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Laurence "GreenReaper" Parry

    Huh. I think we have one of these on our high street, but to be honest I only use that to go to/from the station or a bus. Which I guess doesn’t bode well for the future of the high street. 🙂

    I guess it’s not really for me, although I must admit being curious as to whether some kind of long-range Wi-Fi piggyback connection could be established.

  2. Avatar Mike

    Head stones for the retail graveyard.

  3. Avatar Albert Johnson

    They have them in Leeds – it’s great! I get 250mbps download and 108 upload on my iPhone using an encrypted network.

    They seem to have enough to cover the main street 🙂

  4. Avatar Tower Hamlets

    Sad to see companies fail and people losing jobs but these InLink terminals are totally toxic fueling anti-social behaviour around the country. It was an awful idea and had dreadful consequences for communities in Tower Hamlets. InLink’s response to the disaster they caused was to cover their eyes and ears and be obstructive.

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